There will be no recall of Cowlitz County Sheriff Mark Nelson, a judge ruled
Judge Stephen Warning said the petition for recall submitted to the court
does not have the legal footing to move forward.
The union representing striking longshore workers called for the recall last
month. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union filed the petition,
citing civil rights violations, police brutality and wasteful spending.
Laurie Davis represented the union in court.
would like us and the court to believe we filed this petition for recall out of spite,"
Davis said. "But it could not be further from the truth."
Davis said the
sheriff abused his powers and allowed deputies to use aggressive behavior when
arresting protesters this summer.
"We do not
deny that arrests were made. We object to how the arrests were made," Davis
She told the judge that protesters were stalked and harassed by deputies and some
suffered physical injuries.
"We have no place to turn but a recall because Mark Nelson
believes his department does no wrong," Davis said.
Nelson and his attorney responded and told the judge that Washington
State law gives a sheriff discretion in how to handle a lawless situation. The
sheriff told the judge he has allowed the longshoremen and other protesters to
share their message, so long as they did so legally.
The sheriff says he only acted when the protesters turned to
The sheriff cited an incident in September when union members
blocked a train. Nelson said deputies and other police had to physically remove
The judge said he was surprised that the union did not call any witnesses.
After the hearing, the union said they could not testify because many of them
are involved with either a criminal, civil or federal lawsuit.
Warning said the union didn't factually provide enough evidence to
support the allegations.
The union has not decided if they will appeal the ruling.
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